AG Notes

Alberta Barley appoints co-GMs

Syeda Khurram and Linda Whitworth will share the role of general manager on an interim basis for Alberta Barley.

The senior managers have worked for the organization since 2011.

Khurram will continue managing finance and human resources while Whitworth will handle market development.

The move was connected to the departure of Lisa Skierka as general manager. It’s expected the new general manager will be found by July 31.

Campus expands for skills and trades training

The Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology is using $4 million in provincial funding to embark on a major campus expansion.

The expansion will double the institute’s capacity to train apprenticeship-track industrial welders and help develop other career job skills.

The institute is working within the provincial government to add 75,000 skilled workers to the labour force by 2020.

Pruning ban fights Dutch elm disease

Alberta’s elm pruning ban started April 1 and runs until Sept. 30.

The Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease has guidelines for handling elm wood to help keep the province free from Dutch elm disease.

Elm wood can harbor the elm bark beetles that carry the deadly fungus. Stored, pruned and dead wood needs to be burned or buried by March 31 to kill their habitat.

The beetles feed on healthy elms and breed in dead and dying elm trees. An elm tree that is infected with Dutch elm disease will die within that year. Improper pruning kills or ruins many trees every year. Trees should be pruned by a professional certified arborist.

For more information, contact Janet Feddes-Calpas at 877-837-ELMS.

B.C. producer levy rates unchanged

Annual producer levy rates have gone unchanged in British Columbia for the fifth consecutive year.

The decision was made during a recent budget review by the B.C. Vegetable Marketing Commission.

To see the Annual Producer Levy structure, visit and view Schedule IV — BCVMC Levies and Charges — of the General Order, page 43 .

Saskatchewan 4-H Council receives funding

The Saskatchewan 4-H Council will receive $1.05 million from Growing Forward 2 over the next three years.

The council will receive $350,000 per year, which represents an annual increase of $50,000 over the previous agreement to support leadership development initiatives.

The council has more than 200  clubs and 800 volunteer leaders. It is one of the largest and longest running youth organizations in Canada.

Website to improve connection to food

A new website offers resources to help everyone grow food, regardless of their location.

According to, all Canadians can contribute to growing their own food while boosting their physical and mental health.

The site provides information and community social spaces that help guide would-be growers toward creating gardens, choosing crops suitable to their growing conditions and producing a harvest.

Walls, balconies, sunny windows and small indoor aquariums can be starting points for growing cheaper and fresher food. Besides the standard garden contents, the website promotes other crops such as edible flowers and native plants.

It also provides information on micro-livestock such as fish, poultry, bees and goats.

Membership is $15 per year.

The website offers a free 21-day trial of its planning and planting tools, crop calendars and weekly to-do lists.

Calgary Stampede feels impact of oil plunge

CALGARY (Reuters) — Canada’s top rodeo is feeling the impact of the global oil price plunge, with bids to sponsor one of the Calgary Stampede’s main events down more than 20 percent from last year.

Chuck wagon races are among the Calgary Stampede’s headline events. The rights to advertise on top riders’ chuck wagon canvases are sold each spring in an auction. This year, bids fell 21 percent from 2014 to $2.782 million, reflecting the mood in a city where layoffs in the oil sector are mounting.

Despite the slide in bids, the 2015 total was still well above the $1.692 million bid in 2009 following the last major oil price crash.

The record auction year was 2012. the Stampede’s 100th birthday, when sponsors bid $4.015 million.


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